Enshi, in mountainous southwest Hubei province, isn't a place many people are familiar with – Chinese and foreigners alike. Enshi Tujia and Miao Autonomous Prefecture (Enshi Tujiazu Miaozu Zizhizhou; 恩施土家族苗族自治州), bordering Hunan in the south and Chongqing in the west/northwest, are home to some sites of outstanding natural beauty, such as the Enshi Grand Canyon and the Wild Three Gorges. Here are some sites and sights of note in the region.
The Huanghe Qiao (Yellow Crane Bridge) scenic spot is part of the Wild Three Gorges, a beautiful area of forests and rocky peaks by the Qingjiang River.
Scaling the peaks involves traversing the winding stone staircases around the mountainside, as well as a trip in a cable car. At the top, you are met with stunning panoramic views up above the clouds.
Cruise along the Qingjiang taking in the scenery of the Wild Three Gorges. The boat stops off twice for photo opportunities by two impressive waterfalls.
Often referred to as China's answer to the Grand Canyon, this 300 square kilometre gorge is a sight to behold. After taking a cable car to the starting point, there are four peaks to scale, with various points to stop off at along the way where vendors are keen to offload their wares, including tea, sweets and vegetables.
One attraction of note is the One Incense Pillar (above), a large stone column inconspicuously standing in the canyon by the third peak. Having climbed all the way to the top, thankfully, getting back down from the trail is a far less challenging task than getting up it, as you return to the bottom via a series of escalators that give you ample time to snap pictures of your gorgeous surroundings.
Tenglong (soaring dragon) cave is supposedly the longest monomer karst (caves that form in soluble rock) cave system in the world. Home to the source of the Qinjiang River, regardless of the weather outside, temperatures in the cave remain between 16 and 18 Celcius all year round.
Part of the cave's interior has been converted into a theatre, where you can watch Yi Shui Li Chuan (pictured above), a traditional live show performed by the local Tujia people – China's eighth largest ethnic minority.
A three day trip in Enshi is available for 1,980RMB per person through Ctrip